Racing plan to turn up heat on Munster as they bid to reach second final on Spanish soil in three seasons

Racing plan to turn up heat on Munster as they bid to reach second final on Spanish soil in three seasons
Munster's Conor Murray scores a try during his side's clash with Racing in October.

Racing 92 are hoping destiny is calling as they plot a route through Munster’s European ambitions to reach next month’s Champions Cup final in Bilbao.

The Parisian club take on Munster in the Bordeaux sunshine on Sunday afternoon with temperatures during the match set to reach 28C. And club captain Dimitri Szarzeswki is planning to turn the heat up on the Irish province as Racing bid to reach a second final on Spanish soil in three seasons.

Racing won the French Top 14 title in 2016 with a final victory over Toulon at Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium and the France hooker said a return trip over the Pyrenees had been much discussed.

"We talk about it quite often. After we experienced the final in Barcelona and when we learned the final will be in Bilbao, we felt it could be a sign, that this could be for Racing,” Szarzewski said on Saturday following Racing’s captain’s run training session at Stade Chaban-Delmas.

We must go step by step but if we get to Bilbao, to win there would be amazing, something that we can tell to our grandchildren. One step at a time, anyway. One step at a time.

Racing also reached the Champions Cup final in 2016 but lost the decider to Saracens in Lyon and Szarzewski, who will start the semi-final on the bench, admits European glory is still an obsession for the club.

"I’d love to be part of the few teams from France that have been able to lift the Cup. It's very dear to our hearts but we know the quality we are facing, what is at stake. We have to be highly efficient to win such a match.

But we’d like to write a new page of the history of the club, to be among the elite teams in Europe.

As for the heat in Bordeaux, Racing joint head coach Laurent Travers said: "This is something we’ll have to take into account. Heat is one of the parameters and it will have an impact, especially towards the end of the match.

"We'll have to deal with it and I hope there will be a water break so that the players are able to recover.

But whether it's sunny, windy or rainy, it's the same for both teams anyway and they will have the same problem.

France scrum-half Maxime Machenaud is set to lead Racing into Sunday’s clash with Munster, and the Bordeaux native said: “We know the Irish will want to put a lot of speed into the game and we will have to handle that and then take into account the heat.

"It’s clear that the bodies will tire and it’s going to be a very intense match but we're aware of that. That’s just sport."

Szarzewski added: “We’re used to playing in 22 degrees at the U Arena (indoors) but the temperature will be higher and there won’t be any air conditioning. It’s going to be hot”.

More in this Section

The bond exists forever’: John Giles misses Premier League punditry to be with old Leeds palsThe bond exists forever’: John Giles misses Premier League punditry to be with old Leeds pals

Jose Mourinho gets reminder of scale of Spurs rebuildJose Mourinho gets reminder of scale of Spurs rebuild

Divock Origi double leaves Everton boss Marco Silva on the brinkDivock Origi double leaves Everton boss Marco Silva on the brink

Provinces to be redrawn in GAA’s bold new eraProvinces to be redrawn in GAA’s bold new era


Lifestyle

The bug causes vomiting and diarrhoea and can leave people feeling weak.Tips to help stop the spread of the dreaded norovirus

Susan McGarvey, public health nurse, Arranmore, Co Donegal.Working Life: Public health nurse Susan McGarvey

I have a mild dose of laryngitis, brought on by a throat infection. I’ve tried gargling with salted water but it hasn’t helped much. What would you recommend?Natural Health: How to deal with incredibly frustrating laryngitis

Searching for the perfect perfume to gift this Christmas? Rachel Marie Walsh picks the best.Searching for the perfect perfume to gift this Christmas? We've got you covered

More From The Irish Examiner